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Sharing authentic stories with your customers is one of the most effective ways to build trust and inspire action. But if you don’t have the budget to produce an elaborate commercial or hire Hollywood actors, how can you break through the noise and capture your audience’s attention? Here are five realistic ways to tell an authentic story with a video that will help you reach your marketing goals.

Start by Listening

Listening is one of the most important parts of storytelling. Why? Because your audience has your best stories. Real-world examples of how they use and interact with your product or service are what make for truly authentic video marketing campaigns. Before you can create any kind of engaging marketing materials, you need to really understand your customers and what they want from your brand. 

Deciding what content to make a video on can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the process. Here are a few ideas to help get your creative juices flowing: 

  • Introducing Your Brand
  • Your Company Brand Story Video
  • Your Company Brand History Video
  • Product Impact Video
  • Customer Testimonial Video
  • Customer Impact Video
  • Employee Testimonial Video
  • Employee Impact Video
  • Help and How-To Videos
  • Internal Education 

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE

Customer Testimonial

POLAR COMMUNICATIONS, PARK RIVER, NORTH DAKOTA

Polar Communications is a trailblazer in the rural telecom industry, and has been for decades. With a loyal team, committed community, and rock-solid leadership, Polar is not only leading within their own community, but paving the way for statewide initiatives that make North Dakota a better place.

Polar’s is an incredible story of impact and innovation, BUT, they weren’t sharing that story with the world. Over the course of two years, we interviewed residential and business customers–like Safe-T-Pull–about the impact that Polar’s internet, video, and security services have had on their lives. This campaign has allowed Polar to both attract new customers and establish brand loyalty and empathy among their current customers.

REAL LIFE EXAMPLE

Brand Refresh Reveal

RTC NETWORKS, PARSHALL, NORTH DAKOTA

In 2021, RTC decided it was time for a refreshed brand that represented who they are, and everything they do. We interviewed several RTC employees, board members, and customers to gain a greater understanding of RTC’s history and what sets them apart from the hundreds of other broadband cooperatives across the country. We used their own words to craft the script and guide the artistic direction for their Brand Reveal video. And thus, RTC Networks was born! 

Study the Greats

If you’re interested in telling authentic stories, there’s no better place to start than by studying storytelling. If you aren’t quite sure where to begin, look for authentic narratives in current and past marketing campaigns. Dig deep into these campaigns and figure out why they work so well. Ask yourself questions like,

  • Did they help you connect with a person or product in a unique way? 
  • What is it about their messaging that draws you in? 

Then, try applying those same principles while creating your own unique story. A good place to start: Crafting unique experiences with customers and using them as testimonials in your marketing materials and advertisements.

Research your Audience

As with any good relationship, in marketing, it is essential to know and understand the people you are talking to—their wants, their needs, their fears. Whether you’re trying to build a following or just connect and reconnect with your current audience, creating content that is interesting, emotionally pulling, and relevant to your audiences is key. 

  • What are their goals? 
  • How are they feeling? 
  • Where are they on their journey? 
  • How can you help be the guide to their heroic journey? 

The more you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your content and connect with them. One of my favorite ways to research customers is by getting into conversations with them on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook. These platforms allow me see what people are saying about my brand or topic of interest, which helps me glean insights into customer pain points and company opportunities—and ultimately makes it easier for me to tell an authentic story that resonates with my target audience.

A key component of storytelling is getting your audience invested in your brand. Start with what you do, why you do it, and what’s unique about your approach. Bring in testimonials from happy customers to support what you’re saying about yourself—and stay away from out-of-context quotes or boilerplate language. Ultimately, if your story resonates with others in your industry, they will be more likely to interact with you and follow along on social media channels.

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE

Brand Impact Film

NORTH VALLEY CAREER & TECHNOLOGY CENTER, GRAFTON, NORTH DAKOTA

North Valley Career and Technical Center has an amazing mission, passionate staff, and really impressive students. They’re building the workforce of the future, but they didn’t don’t know how to share that story in a concise, yet powerful way. In order to do so, we created a Brand Impact film that includes interviews with the people who know best: alumni. Hearing how North Valley shaped real people and jump-started real careers will inspire potential students (and their parents) to consider enrolling in North Valley.

REAL LIFE EXAMPLE

Employee Recruitment Video

CCRI – CREATIVE CARE FOR REACHING INDEPENDENCE, MOORHEAD, MINNESOTA

We at Tellwell have a soft spot in our hearts for CCRI. So when they approached us about employee recruitment campaign, we jumped at the opportunity. We spoke with the people doing the work day-in and day-out to learn why anyone should consider being a Direct Support Professional.

Use your sales and CSR teams for ideas

Gathering stories to use in video form can be daunting, but remember: you have a wealth of knowledge right at your fingertips. It’s called your front-line team! Lean on your customer service reps and sales team. They are interacting with customers every day, and have a deep understanding of their needs. If you need more insight, send out a quick survey to ask what your audiences like about your product or services and how they have impacted their lives/businesses.You have your story right there!

Ultimately, if your story resonates with others in your company and industry, they will be more likely to interact with you and follow along on social media channels.

Make Your Audience the Hero

Today, customers are much more skeptical of sales pitches. Rather than telling customers how great your product is, let them decide for themselves. The best way to do that is by showing them your product in action and what it can do for them. And nothing does that better than video testimonials from real people, not actors.

At Tellwell, we use the classic Hero’s Journey Storytelling Framework. Very simply, we position you (the brand) as the guide who will support your audience in their journey toward becoming the hero. By not positioning ourselves as the hero, we get our audiences to visualize themselves winning. And if we help them win, then we win with them! 

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE

Impact Film

NICE CENTER, NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY, FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA

Nobody wants to hear another story about how such-and-such school or program is changing lives. We want to hear how WE can change our OWN lives, with a bit of help. In this impact film, we showed how the Nice Center acted as the guide, leading Dieum on the path to becoming the hero of his own story. In doing so, we can inspire viewers to say, “Hey, if he can do it, I bet I can too!”

BONUS) Seek Help

This may all seem overwhelming, especially if you’re a one-person marketing team, but it doesn’t have to be. A video production company like Tellwell can help you navigate through all of these steps, generate ideas, and even curate the stories for you.


Bring your organization’s story to life through video. We can help.

From beautiful videos to wholistic campaigns, Tellwell has the team and experience to help you share your message and reach your goals. 

Reach out today!

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Author Max Kringen

Max Kringen is a strategist, idea guy, and educator. His background is in digital marketing, content strategy, social media strategy and execution in healthcare, emerging media, and education. Starting his first web design company while in 8th grade in Enderlin, North Dakota, Max started Tellwell back in 2014 to tell the stories of our community.

More posts by Max Kringen